EPA Inter-regional Competition 2016

Junior competition Report

This yearís team for the Eastern Region was Chris and Gavin Wilmot and Sean Daisley. Chris and Gavin have represented the Regionís Junior team for the past 9 years and Sean joined them last year from Chiltern, but they have played together as a team for a few years now. The last time that the region won the Junior Championship was in 2012 when Chris and Gavin played with Sam Mellen and Harry Waldie, who both went on to represent England during their time as Juniors. Having started, on paper as one of the strongest teams, they were so disappointed to finish low down the order last year, so all three were very determined to make amends, in this, their final year as juniors.

Saturday started well, showing great skill, to win their first game against Anglia in three ends 13-0. Then came the rain and their excellent start was soon washed away when they had a bad game against Heart of England losing 13-3.

However this seemed to motivate them, and showing all the skill they were capable of, they started well against Chiltern gaining a 9-6 lead. Yet again though, it all changed with Chiltern dominating the latter part of the game, and with our team unable to respond, they eventually lost 13-9. With two games down in the pouring rain they needed to change their tactics which they did and went on to win against Sussex 13-8. This was the end of their first day as the inaugural Junior shooting competition took up the rest of the afternoon.

Not the best start for a first day, and holding 6th place from 10 teams, they needed to improve to have any chance of winning this Championship where the standard of play was proving to be excellent.

On to Sunday with everything to play for, and with five games to go, the weather had improved and the sun was shining - what more could you want. First game of the day was against Southern who were strong. From the start to the finish of this game they all played some of their best petanque, keeping in control to win 13-9.

The next opposition was a strong Kent team, which included other members of the National Junior squad, but our determination showed through and they had a comfortable win of 13-6.

Next up were the Isle of Wight and yet again they set the pace and controlled the game to win 13-9.

After lunch and with two games left, the Combined Team were next up, but were never in the game and we won comfortably 13-1.

Their efforts had pushed them up the table into second place, only trailing East Midlands on points difference, and with the other teams not able to keep up, this final match against East Midlands was a winner takes all match.

The game started slowly as each team was trying to settle nerves. Our guys maintained the lead in the match though right up to 11-8. Then East Midlands, with their England star, Dan Raine, grabbed a couple of points to close the gap to 11-10. This game was proving to be as close as you could have hoped for, given its importance for the winners.

On the next end, East Midlands held a single point, and with Dan given a shot with his last boule to grab three and the game, he missed. Sighs of relief from the crowd of Eastern squad members, who had now come over to give their support, were audible.

In what turned out to be the final end, Gavin planted a solid point with his first boule, which was only beaten by East Midlands last. Chris landed a delightful 10 metre shot clipping that boule out, leaving Sean to roll up for that second point and Victory!

On the second day it was Eastern that set the pace of every game they played and I believe that is why they won in such a convincing way. Having been with them for 9 years I am very proud of them all and so glad they finished their Junior years by winning. All of them have followed Harry and Sam by representing England, with Chris being selected last year for the World Championships in Thailand and reselected again for the European Junior Championships in Monaco in October.

Iím sure, as a region, we look forward to having them join our senior squad, battling in Division One next year.